Footwear for Basketball – Make the right choice

It’s not about the shoes, it’s what you do in them.

Michael Jordan

The most common injury we see in basketball is a lateral ankle sprain. These injuries typically occur when the athlete is landing after a jump.

To minimize the chance of this happening, should these basketball players be wearing high-top or low-top basketball shoes? Can the high-top shoe prevent excessive inversion of the ankle joint?


An example of a high-top shoe—the Nike Hyperdunk 

Yes, high-tops do restrict excess ankle motion and reduce the risk of ankle sprains.

With the support of research, I encourage coaches and trainers of basketball players to do conditioning in minimal footwear, but practice and games should be in high-top shoes. The high-top sneaker is much better at restricting ankle motion than the combination of an ankle brace and a minimal shoe.

Try to keep players in a high top for basketball games, even if they want to challenge the concept of high-tops and be in a minimalist shoe for training.

The future of basketball footwear is minimal-based basketball shoes. You’ll start to see a decrease in the heel-toe drop in basketball shoes. They will continue to have high-top support for the ankles, but you’ll start to see designs with a sole and base that allows freedom of movement in the feet and greater proprioceptive input from the ground. These will all decrease reaction time and provide greater stability and control.

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